Health Impact Assessment Program Development

The social and built environments in which we live have profound impacts on our health. Health Impact Assessment is a tool to help gauge the potential ramifications proposed laws, regulations, programs, budgets, policies, or projects may have on health. HIAs often consider proposals that fall outside the realm of public health or medicine, assessing the unanticipated health risks and benefits conferred by activities in non-health sectors. HIA relies on participatory techniques and qualitative and quantitative data analysis to rigorously assess how proposals may affect health, and to propose recommendations to maximize a proposal's health benefit. We are conducting a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on Massachusetts state funding for the Small Business Technical Assistance Program, which provides technical assistance and training grants to assist small businesses located in underserved communities in Massachusetts. We will also complete several smaller assessments as part of HIA workshops and courses for students, practitioners, and community organizers.